Your most important enrolment and marketing strategy

What is your most important enrolment and marketing strategy?

School leaders often ask me this question. While I will point them to word-of-mouth and inbound strategies, I think there is a more important foundational strategy. It is the base on which all your enrolment and marketing strategies are built.

It begins and ends with your faculty and staff.

It’s what happens in and out of the classroom that makes a difference day in and day out. It’s the relationships formed with faculty, staff and coaches that make a lasting impression on students and parents. This will drive word-of-mouth referrals and online stories.

I’ve seen it over and over again in schools. A school is only as strong as your faculty and staff. The people you hire and retain make the difference. While facilities and statistics may make an impression, your school’s personnel will influence a family to enrol and to remain until graduation.

Assuming that you have the best faculty and staff on your team, here are nine ways they can help market your school:

  1. Serve with excellence in their area of responsibility. The best way to market your school is to ensure that everyone is doing the best job they can in their area. From the custodian to the teacher, everyone should focus on delivering excellence. The brand on the outside will only be as strong as the brand experience on the inside. When everyone is focused on excellence, your school will be easy to market.
  2. Turn negative conversations into positive moments. Your faculty and staff are on the frontline and come in contact with parents and students on a daily basis. When negative conversations and situations arise (and I promise they will), your staff need to take time to listen, redirect, provide solutions and, in some cases, direct people to the administrative team.
  3. Tell stories about your school. Every faculty and staff member can be an effective storyteller for your school, communicating successes in the lives of staff, students and alumni. As these stories become a regular part of conversations, your school image will be lifted up and word-of-mouth will accelerate.
  4. Celebrate successes. Everyone likes to be acknowledged for their accomplishments. When you notice something that stands out in a colleague, parent or student, take time to celebrate their success. A simple note, phone call, email or affirmation in a meeting could go a long way in creating a positive culture at your school.
  5. Welcome families and visitors. A warm smile, friendly hello and handshake (hopefully in post-COVID days ahead) can go a long way in providing a welcoming atmosphere on your campus. When a prospective family visits a classroom or walks by, staff should take a moment to introduce themselves. Remember, without students and families, your school wouldn’t exist!
  6. Focus on retention. It is more cost effective to keep a family enrolled at your school than it is to go out and recruit a new one. Retention is everyone’s responsibility. Make it each faculty member’s goal to retain the students and families in their class into the next year by promoting the next level at your school.
  7. Provide outstanding service. The way you serve your parents and students can make a huge difference. Make it the goal of your team to deliver outstanding service to all parents and students. It doesn’t always mean they are right; it does mean that you will be proactive and take initiative in serving them with excellence.
  8. Make positive, personal connections. When a parent receives a call or email from a teacher or administrator, an issue generally needs to be addressed regarding their child. However, positive and personal connections can make a difference throughout the year. In fact, parents want to know how their child is doing at the school. From sending birthday cards to handwritten personal notes, you can create a positive connection and impression.
  9. Work together. The faculty and staff should work together as a team. When the team works together in unity, it is evident to the parents and students. When the preschool succeeds, the entire school wins. When the upper school succeeds, the preschool wins. The school team that is unified will make a difference in the enrolment and marketing effort.

By focusing on these nine ways to get involved in marketing your school, every faculty and staff member plays a significant role in this effort. And when this occurs, I believe your enrolment issues will be solved.

Dr Rick Newberry is the President of Enrollment Catalyst. Based in the USA, his goal is to provide school leaders with effective marketing and enrolment strategies, as well as staff accountability, direction, and results needed to grow their enrolment.

SMJ Rick Newberry

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